By Omar Mohammed
TOKYO (Reuters) – Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir won the Olympic men’s 800 metres gold medal on Wednesday, extending the East African nation’s dominance of an event they have now won four times in a row.
His compatriot Ferguson Rotich took silver and Patryk Dobek of Poland claimed the bronze.
Kenya’s double Olympic gold medallist David Rudisha’s persistent injuries denied him the chance to defend his title, opening a path for a new champion to emerge and Korir powered his way to victory with a time of 1:45.06.
He spread his arms wide as he crossed the line as if to announce that he was ready to assume Rudisha’s mantle as king of the 800 metres.
Arriving in Japan boasting the second leading time of the year, Korir began the race fast, moving up to second behind Australia’s Peter Bol who set the early pace.
Korir accelerated with 200 metres left and surged to the line ahead of Rotich, who pushed hard in the last 50m to make it a Kenyan one-two as he clocked 1:45.23.
Dobek’s bronze was Poland’s first Olympic medal in the 800m and first medal in an individual running event since 1980.
(Reporting by Omar Mohammed, editing by Clare Fallon and Ed Osmond)